Does this seem like an odd request??

mommyof5August 22, 2009

Our 13 yr old home has been on the market (FSBO) since mid May. The first couple who came through gave us an offer about a month later that was $40,000 below asking price. We declined that offer. I told my DH we should have counter offered, but he didn't think they were even "playing the game". We did counter a month later (long story) at $265,000, they didn't take it.

We know this couple closed on their house in mid July and need to get out soon. So a few days ago they up the offer $5,000. My DH is getting tired of the carrying costs (this house is paid off, but we just built a new one) so he wants to sell. After a back and forth we settle on $255,000 pending an inspection.

Here is the odd part. As my DH is talking to him about meeting to sign the contract the buyer announces that his wife is pregnant and if I will help tear down the kitchen wallpaper. I said I'm not touching anything until the deal is done. That was fine w/ them, but they still want me to do it. If the inspection goes okay then they can close on Aug. 31. Here's the kicker, I'm pregnant too (early enough that no one knows) plus we have 6 kids, school starts on Monday, 3 kids play soccer and 1 plays tennis so Mon-Thurs. I'm tied up. I baby-sit 6 kids during the day so I can't do it during the day. I also have a huge Girl Scout project my troop is working on and that won't wrap up until Labor Day.

I personally think this is really an odd request. Her parents both came to see the house w/ them and I know they live in the area so why can't they help? My DH thinks I should do it because they wanted $254,000 and we were firm at 255,000. He sees it as they went up $1000 so I should do this.

Any opinions or suggestions out there???

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I'm not sure I understand this. Does the husband want you personally to remove the wallpaper before they will sign a contract, or does he want you to return after closing to work with him in removing it? It is kind of odd either way. Why you and not your husband? Whatever it takes in this market, I suppose.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 7:39PM
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All things considered, although strange, it is a relatively minor request in this market to ensure the sale goes through. Our realtor had us take down our kitchen wallpaper before even putting our house on the market, knowing it could potentially be a problem.

I had to help my parents strip wallpaper as a kid so why not get your older ones to help? It wouldn't hurt them to miss one night of soccer or tennis.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 9:22PM
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Personally, I would not touch anything, especially after you close. They could claim damage to the walls, expect you to paint etc. It would be there house not yours.
Besides, if you are pregnant, you should NOT be doing this, nor should your kids, They have programs and school. The parents of the new owners should help or hire it done. Please, do not do it.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Yes, you are not clear if this is a sale contingency or not, and it is also not clear if this is to be done post or prior to closing.

Personally, it sounds to me like they are just trying to leverage the situation to get something, anything out of you as somewhat desperate sellers. You can play the game or not. You may or may not lose the sale if you decide not to play.

I would not hesitate to agree to strip the wallpaper post closing. I would hire it done by a licensed contractor. They can't require you to do it personally, although you could if you wanted to.

It would be cleaner if you didn't do it. You can always decline. If they really want the house, they will buy it anyway.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:30PM
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I'm with mariend on this...I'd be afraid they would claim you "did it wrong" or "damaged their house".

Get the names of a few local professionals and give it to them, but refuse to do it yourself.

You are right, what an odd request.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 7:56AM
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After talking about this w/ my DH, he said the wallpaper removal is a contingency on the offer. They came up $1000 to the price we were firm on. I don't know when they expect this job to be done. What I do know is, I replaced a 5" section before we put it on the market. It came off horribly. I had to pick and scrap every bit. Plus I had to spackle the wall to smooth it out. I remember that one little section took me a week to finish. With that in mind I think the rest of the walls are going to be just as time consuming.

My kids have helped me when we lived there, but I wouldn't have them do it in someone elses home. And if it takes 2-3 weeks, that's a lot of soccer to miss.

Here is another concern my DH just told me about. The home inspector is a friend of theirs. I think we should insist on a neutral person who won't possibly be biased. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 12:55PM
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They may have any home inspector they want, I believe, since they are paying. You can either agree or disagree with any repairs they want made. If the inspection and subsequent negotiations go well, I would simply hire the wallpaper job out. I don't know your financial situation, of course, but if at all possible, that is what I would do. You have a willing buyer. You have the wallpaper removal in the contract as a contingency. Don't lose the sale for such a small item. Yes, you may spend the entire $1000 you saved by having them meet your price, but that is why they did the contingency, to make up for paying a higher price. Hire the job out, get it over with, and move on. It will grate on you for a while, but soon it will simply become one of the stories we all tell about strange real-estate transactions.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 6:33PM
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Another thought, who is liable if you get hurt? You will be climbing, scraping etc Also the stretching and smelling the fumes will not be good. As all your stuff will be moved out, will you use their stuff? Will their furniture be in the house? Again, think liability? And they could just back out. If they as so concerned about the wallpaper, just offer them the $1000.00 towards them finding someone to do it payable only after the house closed. No closure, no payment. Please think of yourself and your family. They must come first. Yes I have been there and it was not good.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I wouldn't do it in a million years! If your husband wants it done, let him do it. Taking down wallpaper is not easy and they look like they are the kind of people to look for anything they can to get out of paying your price. Their home inspector will probably come up with a host of things that need fixing and they will want you to fix or deduct from the sale price.

Tell them you are pregnant and can't possibly remove wall paper.

Are they kidding!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:02AM
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I would not do it either. I would ok the $1,000 less offer before I go back to my sold house to work. Even if you paid someone to do it in your place, you'd still be spending close to that.

Sell your house and move on. We ended up going much lower then we wanted to as well; which was more then that $1,000 in your case. Tell your hubby you're very lucky to have sold in this market and cut your losses.

You should not be doing this type of work either.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 9:22AM
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Are you sure the seller wants "you" personally to remove the wallpaper, or it is just a clause that they want the wall paper to be removed? If I am the buyer, I want it done by a professional.

I think the request from the seller wanting to remove the wallpaper is normal, especially the buyer does not want his pregnant wife to do that.

The request that is odd is the one from your husband, giving the fact that you are babysitting 6 kids during the day, taking care of your 6 kids in the night, and you are preparing for the moving. Even if you are not pregnant, without removing the wallpaper, it is already too much for anyone to handle. Is your husband kidding?

It is even odder that you are wondering if you should consider this undertaking. Your option is obvious - take the $1000.00 loss and move on. if you cannot afford that, your husband needs to do the work, especially, he is the one who negotiated the deal.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 10:44AM
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"The request that is odd is the one from your husband, giving the fact that you are babysitting 6 kids during the day, taking care of your 6 kids in the night, and you are preparing for the moving. Even if you are not pregnant, without removing the wallpaper, it is already too much for anyone to handle. Is your husband kidding?"

I thought the same thing.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 10:51AM
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Seriously. Not in a million years would I do that, pregnant or not, 1 kid or 16... please.

Take the offer that is $1000 less, and let the new owners use that $$ to hire their own professional to do the job. They may find fault with your contractor if you hire it out. But I would never even consider doing it myself or asking DH to do it. Sounds like a can of worms waiting to be opened.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:18AM
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I agree with the others - hire it out if hubby doesn't want to do the work.

Also note - it might not be that big a job, depending on whether the current wallpaper is vinyl or not. If not vinyl, you simply run a wet sponge(plain water) over the wallpaper and let it sit for a few minutes(3 minutes). Then the paper pulls right off, usually in one large easy-peel piece. Then you wipe the wall with a clean wet spong to get rid of residue. I did this to a home I bought and could not believe how fast and easy it all came off. The whole job took less than 2 hours. However, the kithen was on the small side. We were able to paint over the wall another day, and you could not tell wallpaper was there before.

If the wallpaper is vinyl,then the above method doesn't work, since the vinyl won't allow the water the soak through.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 12:09PM
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We met w/ the buyers last night and they don't have to be in until the end of Sept. We agreed to strip the wallpaper, but made it clear it may take weeks. They seemed okay w/ that and never asked to have it done professionally. I was more concerned about them wanting it done in the next few weeks and that just wasn't possible. My DH will be helping as well. He didn't realize what was involved or long it can take when he first told me about the conversation w/ the buyers. I'm just going to let it go. Thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:57PM
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You should have some sort of "contract" with them in place that says they won't hold you accountable if the walls are damaged due to removal of the wallpaper. I don't think it would have to be done by a lawyer...I believe that if you write your own contract and both sign it, that's considered legally binding, but I could be wrong.

Also, go to Lowe's or some other hardware store and get a little tool to score the paper and a product called Diff. It'll make it a LOT easier.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 3:35PM
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I have heard the DIF is simply diluted fabric softener. The perforating tool is called a Paper Tiger, by Zinsser. They also make the DIF.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:04PM
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